Professional Services is a Key Component to Enhanced Telematics

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By John Cameron, General Manager of Trimble Field Service Management

Telematics can offer companies the opportunity to monitor and manage the use and health of their vehicles, to oversee driving behavior and to have a 360-degree view of their fleet’s location. However, companies operating telematics systems across large fleets are inundated daily with data documenting various aspects of their fleet. A major challenge for fleet managers is how to decipher this data and turn it into valuable information so they can then spot trends and use the data to make intelligent business decisions.

We believe that a key solution to this challenge can be found in a professional services team. Such a team offers their expertise to help businesses in the analysis and interpretation of the data from initial concept through to daily implementation. Information is only valuable if it helps you make the right decision and a professional services team helps to ensure you achieve this.

Fleet managers and other internal stakeholders receive custom reports, tailored to their needs, which illustrate the impact on their part of the business; from fleet utilization to individual vehicle maintenance, overtime records and fuel consumption. One key example is the impact on driver safety and how individual drivers have performed over a certain period. Instead of receiving a list of driver scores for every driver, a report will identify the drivers who have the poorest driving performance and why. For example, if one driver is trending to quick acceleration while another driver is braking harshly, this will be in the report. This information provides the management team with the high level knowledge they need to make quick, intelligent decisions, such as the need for individual driver training.

Looking at driver safety, the professional services team can arrange one-on-one training programs for drivers, based on their needed areas for improvement. For example, if a driver has been reporting harsh acceleration and a high RPM, they can be trained to accelerate slowly and change to a higher gear sooner. Employing a personal approach to driver training improves driving behavior.

When a business is deploying telematics across its fleet, it is important to arrange an initial session to educate drivers on what the technology does, why it is being used, how it works, what metrics are put in place to measure driver performance and how that information will be used.

A professional services team can offer this workshop but it can also be organized in-house. Trimble, for example, offers a ‘train the trainer’ program which provides individuals with the skills and techniques to deliver training sessions. Drivers receive one-on-one advice and tips for safe and efficient driving so that they can improve their driving behavior immediately. The top tips include:

  • Conduct regular vehicle checks – tire tread, wear and pressure and oil and water levels can affect driving performance and should be checked regularly to ensure vehicle safety.
  • Beware of speeding – Higher speeds means long stopping distances and greater fuel consumption. Drivers are advised to watch their speedometer and stay within the speed limit.
  • Maintain a safe distance – keep at least three seconds between you and the vehicle in front to avoid having to brake suddenly.
  • Be on alert fordistractions – Pay close attention to the road.
  • Accelerate slowly –To gain traction and avoid revving the engine, accelerate slowly.
  • Change gears early – Change to a higher gear early to avoid putting strain on the engine.
  • Avoid harsh braking –Apply smooth pressure to brakes to avoid placing unnecessary wear and tear to the pad.

The amount of data telematics systems provide today can truly transform fleets, if interpreted properly. To achieve this, driver and management training is essential, with the support from a professional services team whose expertise in data interpretation can help businesses meet their objectives and operate the most efficient and safe fleet possible.

For more information on how telematics solutions can help your fleet, call Trimble Field Service Management at 1-877-728-7623 or visit www.trimble.com/fsm.

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John Cameron is general manager of Trimble Field Service Management (FSM), where he is responsible for worldwide operations and development. He holds a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in mechanical engineering from UC-Berkeley and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. www.trimble.com/fsm